March 26, 2002

First Kiss

Written on April 20, 2011

Nine years ago on Tuesday of Holy Week, my husband and I started dating.

We had been head-over-heels in love with each other for a good two months by then, and pretty much everyone else knew it but me.

I was a missionary in Costa Rica, teaching English at a local Christian elementary school, renting a room from Alejandro's neighbor's house.  We listened to the same sirens, the same dogs, the same hollering neighbors, and the same rain on two separate tin roofs.  We met two months earlier when I got lost downtown and he rescued me and helped me get back home, but that's another story for another day.  After we got to know each other on the bus ride home, we looked for every excuse under the sun to spend time together.

He took me out on dates.  He walked on the street-side of the sidewalk and held my elbow as we walked across the street.  He even asked me if he could court me.  Twice.  He explained he would ask my Costa Rican host parents' permission and call on me at appointed times of the week regularly as it is custom to do in Costa Rica.  But I was not having any of it.

We were from two different countries and I was not gonna missionary date (literally).

So we hung out.  A lot.

Until one evening, the night before we were going to leave early the following morning to go to his uncle's ranch for the remainder of Holy Week.  This ranch was in a tiny town called Rincón, which means corner. That's pretty appropriate, because the tiny town of Rincón is in the corner of Costa Rica, practically in Panama on the west coast.  The ranch was right on a bay inlet of the Pacific Ocean, had a horse, fishing boats and (that particular weekend) about half a dozen aunts and uncles and twice as many cousins.

Anyway, it was the night before we were going to get on a bus to get there, at about 10 p.m. and we were starry-eyed and in-love, trying not to act like it.  Suddenly, Alejandro looked at me in the eyes and said, "I really feel like kissing you right now."

My heart flopped.

"No."  I said, in my eloquent Spanish. (Ha!)

"Are you sure?" he asked begged pleaded.

"Yes, I'm sure," I said in disappointment.

No, I'm not sure! My mind revolted.  I DO SO VERY MUCH want you to kiss me!  But I can't!  We're from different countries!  We speak different languages!  I'm a MISSIONARY for heaven's sake!  Ugh!


So I tried to explain.

"Well, no, I'm not sure...." I started.

And in my pause to figure out how to say the next phrase in Spanish...

SMOOCH!!

And then I sort of decided not to finish my sentence.  :-D  Yeah, he totally rushed in and capitalized on the moment.  I'm SO VERY GLAD he did!

So that's the story of how Alejandro stole a kiss from me, how he stole my heart for his own and how our dating days began!